Know What Drives You
All athletes have default methods for managing time, task-completion and self-motivation. However, most of us don't have a solid grip on these inner "settings" and their implications until we take a few minutes to learn about them.
Stand up, close your eyes and visualize the past. It can be a single moment in the past day, month or year, or it can be the past as a whole. Now, as you are visualizing it, point to the past.
Do the same for the future.
You just laid out a mental timeline for yourself, from past to future. For most people, that timeline runs either left-right or backward-forward. (For many left-right people, it's at a slight forward angle, resembling a fan-like shape.)
With these 2 pieces of information (default orientation to time and default orientation to task), you now have the basis to develop a well-rounded form of self-motivation. You are also a step ahead of most other sub-professional athletes!
6 Types Of Self-Motivation
Here are the 6 possible combinations of time and task orientations, along with a key phrase that often helps to self-motivate each type during a tough moment:
- Left-right and task-oriented. "Drop the past, don't look at the finish line, count the reps (or steps)."
- Left-right and ego-oriented. "Drop the past, don't look at the finish line, focus on how physically strong you are."
- Left-right and mixed task-ego. "Drop the past, don't look at the finish line, keep Susan (or some training partner) in your peripheral vision."
- Backward-forward and task-oriented. "Count the reps (or steps), eyes on the prize."
- Backward-forward and ego-oriented. "Focus on how physically strong you are, and how much stronger you'll be when this is done."
- Backward-forward and mixed task-ego. "Keep Susan (or some training partner) in your peripheral vision, but keep most of your focus forward."
Keep 1 thing in mind, no matter how you use this information. There is a lot of gray area and a lot of overlap between types. In reality, most athletes end up switching from one mode to another throughout a training cycle or even a single training session. What's important is to know your default settings and to be aware of the possibilities outlined above. With that knowledge, you can choose the motivators you need in any given moment.
We're starting our next cohort of DeepFitters tomorrow, October 17th. It's a run/bike/tri group. Sign up today!